Friday, August 31, 2012

Hope / Hopelessness

I was confronted by a new idea recently.  I was talking with someone (lets call her my psychologist), and we were discussing hope.  I have written before about how in essence I am always hopeful.  Sure, I might be sarcastic and skeptical, but deep down I have to believe that things will get better.  I make wishes on stars and when blowing out birthday candles.  Any chance I get, I'm thinking of ways in which life could be better.  But Justine suggested that sometimes hope is a double edged sword.  You see, for every hope we have, sometimes we are also faced with disappointment when things don't turn out how we wished.

Now, not winning the tattslotto superdraw is a bummer, but not entirely unexpected.  But what do you do when life becomes harder and hope and wishes aren't cutting it?  Peter was made redundant (thanks to the Tafe funding cuts) a few months ago.  I guess we'd both hoped that he would find a job, and in the meantime we could be thrilled in the joy of having him home full time and not commuting to the boonies for work every week. That's great, until things start getting harder, and we both feel the pressure and worry about the future.


So how do you cope when hope has bitten you on the arse?  It's not always easy to pick yourself up and keep going.  Life does seem to be throwing it's fair share of curveballs at us over the last few years.  Do we get to curl up, have a cry and yell 'uncle'?  Just having life go a little smoother every now and then would be great, thanks...if anyone is listening.


While I was contemplating the idea and role of hope in our lives, this news update came through my facebook feed on the 28th August.  It was the 49th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech.  If you need a reminder the Huffington Post has linked the full text.  But there are lines in this speech that make you tingle, still.


I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."


I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Amazing stuff.  I defy you to not be inspired and feel the hope projected in this speech - that things must get better.


On a similar note, last night we finished watching the second series of 'Go back to where you came from', the compelling and confronting tv show, highlighting the plight of refugees and asylum seekers.  When faced with the horrors of their own war torn countries, you can see why so many people risk their lives trying to get to a safer, peaceful country.  The common theme was that if they stayed, they would certainly face rape, starvation, torture or death.  At least trying to walk hundreds of kilometers or getting on leaky boats gives them hope.  It's better to face death trying to be safe, rather than waiting for it in your home.
And this thought confirmed it for me.  Yes, hope may be duel edged sometimes, and we may face disappointment and heartache and hardship.  But hope is still needed every single day, for without it all we have is hopelessness.